Pitstop by Leon Foster-Hill

OXFORD Chargers, the current National League champions, got their defence underway last weekend, recording home and away victories against the Edinburgh Monarchs Academy.

Jody Scott was the star of both meetings, with a total of 26 points. At Edinburgh, Oxford were as many as eight points up before a couple of falls brought the home side back into it. A win in Heat 15 for the 17-year-old Scott secured the slim one-point win.

Things were a little more comfortable when the Chargers made their Sandy Lane debut on the new Sunday race day. Scott led the way with another 13 points, while Luke Killeen and Ashton Vale both supported well.

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However, there is need of a special mention to the two local lads Jason Garrad and Wayne Hutt. Hutt has been riding amateur speedway for a long time and when the club returned two years ago, he joined the track staff and leads the team under Jamie Courtney.

He was a late call-up following an injury to Alex Spooner at Workington on Saturday. Lining up for the Oxford team was a lifelong dream fulfilled and the Oxford fans were ecstatic.

Garrad joined the Chargers last season and has been working hard in the off-season to improve his performance. This was evident on Sunday when he achieved his first maximum score, with 12 points from four rides.

Oxford have some incredible young British talent in their stable this year. Sixteen-year-old Ashton Boughen is showing some incredible form in the Premiership and Championship, and Scott looks like he is going to be a star in this year’s National League, while Killeen has already shown what he can do at National League and Championship level.

Oxford Spires meanwhile have had a bruising fortnight at the hands of the Ipswich Witches. The Witches inflicted Oxford’s first defeat at home, which also saw star reserve Lewis Kerr break an ankle in the simplest looking of falls.

This created a real headache for the Oxford management as the rules are complicated for anyone guesting for a reserve rider. The decision was taken to release Nicolai Klindt and replace with two-time World Longtrack champion Erik Riss. This put Kerr into the main team and allowed Ipswich track specialist, and Oxford Cheetahs captain, Scott Nicholls to guest in Kerr’s place.

This should have given the Spires a real opportunity to repay the compliment and win at Foxhall Heath as the team had several track specialists, however lady luck is just not with Oxford yet. Rohan Tungate was unable to get back from Poland in time for the meeting, so Oxford had to race with just six team members. Despite that, Oxford held the lead until Heat 9, when the lack of riders really started to take its toll.

Tungate failed to get back due to traffic holding him up getting his flight and despite him then travelling to another airport, still was unable to get a seat back. The Oxford management worked with the SCB all day explaining the situation, however the SCB have banned Tungate for seven days and fined him for missing the fixture.

Unsurprisingly the Oxford fans have been less than complimentary about the ruling, however it would appear to be a slap on the wrist opposed to a true punishment as team manager Peter Schroeck has confirmed that Tungate will be able to line up for the Spires as usual on Thursday evening.